The Nutrition Transition and Agricultural Transformation: a Preston curve approach

Authors: William A. Masters; Anaya Hall; Elena M. Martinez; Peilin Shi; Gitanjali Singh; Patrick Webb; Dariush Mozaffarian Publisher: Agricultural Economics

The nutrition transition in diets and health is closely tied to other aspects of economic development, including agricultural transformation and urbanization as well as demographic change and epidemiological transition from infectious to noncommunicable disease. Over time, dietary patterns typically shift from widespread inadequacy of many foods and nutrients, especially for children and mothers, into surplus energy intake and rising obesity with continued inadequacy of healthier foods. Diet-related diseases remain the largest single cause of premature death and disability in all regions. This article combines food availability and dietary intake data from more than 100 countries over 30 years with a wide range of other evidence to characterize the nutrition transition and its association with changes in agricultural production and the food environment, asking how future dietary patterns might be steered toward healthier outcomes as national incomes grow.